“Through the word you express your creative power, you manifest everything - your intent manifests through the words. What you dream, you feel and who you really are is manifested through the word. It is not just a sound or a written symbol, it is a force - it is the power you have to express and to communicate and think and thereby to create events in your life. You can speak. Word is the most powerful tool you have as a human, it is a tool of magic.”
As Don Miguel Ruiz states in his book The Four Agreements, it is of great importance to be impeccable with your words. Impeccability in a sense of being responsible with your words and actions, without judging and blaming yourself. Likewise, it is important to apply this agreement with your family, business environment, people you meet in everyday life and most importantly with yourself.
When trying to meditate, or be mindful or present in a certain moment, notice how difficult it is to get rid of the “monkey mind” – all the thoughts and words running around in your head. On one hand, these words can be very disruptive, robbing you of your peace. On the other hand, these words can be very powerful – think about runners, especially those who have gone on longer runs; they could give thanks to the words that motivated them to reach their goals.
Moreover, have you ever been the recipient of the perfect words just at the exact moment you needed to hear them? It’s a magical moment of empathy, connection and divine interlocking of humanity when another person speaks to your soul through their words. These moments are special, sacred even, and appear to be on a universal timetable mysteriously unknown to us.
Words also create and dictate the way an environment feels. An office, classroom, an airplane, at home with your family - the style of dialogue directly shapes the energy of a room. The sacred moment of human connection may be more unconscious in a task driven setting, though the power of life-giving and well intentioned words have a deep impact on the way people feel, speak, perform and treat other people.
Let’s start by observing the vessels of magical words. We all know them: The leaders, managers and friends that we look forward to talking to and working with. The ones who make us feel uplifted, more courageous, or perhaps less lonely in our thought processes. Being around them makes you feel capable, valuedand recognized. After an interaction and conversation with this kind of person, you feel a new sense of possibility and confidence when taking your next steps forward.
Here are some signs that you’re in the presence of a person who understands the importance and magic behind the words they choose to use:
They notice the small details, they pay attention to your facial expressions and nonverbal cues to help them navigate the conversation.
→ If you mention something on the surface-level, they may say, “I’d like to learn more about that, please tell me more about…”
They also have an ability to make you feel comfortable. When you walk into a meeting, they may take a moment to welcome you into the conversation and express their interest in learning your perspective on the topic being discussed that day. While these suggested actions may appear as mere congenial gestures, they serve an important purpose to open a pathway of respectful dialogue where each person comes into the conversation with a voice and input. From this starting point, words become the vehicle to discovery, innovation and understanding.
They are not obsessed with themselves
Words begin to sparkle with magic when the recipient realizes that the other person isn’t asking a question or engaging in a conversation for a self-serving purpose. For example, instead of saying “I’d like to have coffee to get your thoughts on how I should do X”, they may instead invest in the relationship first by saying,
→ “I admire the success you’ve had in your field. I’d like to get to know you better and learn more about your career journey.” While they may come prepared with a question or two to the conversation, their main intention is to fully be present in the conversation and allow the dialogue to organically evolve.
More examples from this great video Is it better to be polite or kind:
→ “their idea might not be quite right”, “project is attractive, but it would be interesting to look at alternatives as well”, “intellectual opponent may well have a point”
You feel lighter
People gravitate towards people who lift them up, and not tear them down. Being uplifting doesn’t necessarily mean being happy all the time. Being uplifting may simply involve a statement of recognition and gratitude such as,
→ “Today was an intense day - thank you for the hours you spent preparing for this event so it could run as smoothly as possible.”
A statement like this shows that you noticed their effort and intentions for a smooth event. Even if ten things went wrong that were beyond control (weather, traffic, etc), choosing to focus words on the effort and planning of your colleague has more potential to drive positive, future performance.
They generously invite ideas, thoughts, and reflections
One of the greatest barriers to innovation, creativity and positive change is a person’s fear to speak up and share an idea with others. Those who invite others to share ideas, and then LISTEN with an open mind to what’s being shared begin to cultivate an environment of psychological safety for people to freely dream, imagine and courageously contribute to the conversation. Another powerful element is when a person is able to convey to others that they don’t have all the answers. They generate an understanding with their network that they love to learn and be inspired by other people’s ideas and creativity. Once this free enterprise of sharing and learning is established, the magical exchange of words start to break barriers of the status quo and elicit exciting new possibilities.
Perhaps the real mystery behind the magic of words is that word choice alone isn't enough to make magic happen. Words must be partnered with a sincere truth, curiosity or desire to bring out the best in the other person or organization.